I found this book to be enjoyable, but also predictable. The Western-type setting with a desert flair was a lot of fun, with the combination of guns, fighting, and magic. The story follows Amani, who is unsatisfied with her life and finds herself on the run from her home with a handsome stranger named Jin, who allows her to travel with him until she reaches her destination. The story moved pretty quickly, and thus the book was a quick read. There was enough action, though there were also somewhat maudlin passages about Jin’s eyes and such things. The world that Amani and Jin inhabit is alluring and interesting. There was just enough world building to keep my interest and also give me a really good sense of the world and all of its intricacies. The story was good, but, as you’ll see below, also not necessarily very original.
I read a lot of YA sci-fi/fantasy and dystopian novels. They all share similar qualities, which are sometimes revealed in varying order: girl doesn’t like her home/society, girl discovers something about herself (e.g. a secret in her past), girl falls in love with someone, girl gets involved in fight for freedom from unjust ruler, etc. All of these qualities are found in Rebel of the Sands, and I spotted them all a mile away. Nothing in the story was surprising to me, which was where I got disappointed.
Even though the story was predictable, I still enjoyed it. The infusion of Middle-Eastern mythology and culture into a Western setting was really fun. Though I agree with some other reviews I’ve seen that this westernizes those elements, I still feel like they firmly had their own identity. It’s a great story, and I’m excited to see where it goes in the next book.
Recommend: Yes, even though somewhat predictable for me
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars